hawk

1 of 5

noun (1)

1
: any of numerous diurnal birds of prey belonging to a suborder (Falcones of the order Falconiformes) and including all the smaller members of this group
especially : accipiter
2
: a small board or metal sheet with a handle on the underside used to hold mortar
3
: one who takes a militant or combative attitude (as in a dispute) and advocates immediate vigorous action
especially : a supporter of a war or warlike policy compare dove entry 1

hawk

2 of 5

verb (1)

hawked; hawking; hawks

intransitive verb

1
: to hunt birds by means of a trained hawk (see hawk entry 1 sense 1) : to practice falconry
2
: to soar and strike like a hawk (see hawk entry 1 sense 1)
birds hawking after insects

transitive verb

: to hunt (someone or something) in flight like a hawk (see hawk entry 1 sense 1)
hawking insects

hawk

3 of 5

verb (2)

hawked; hawking; hawks

transitive verb

1
: to raise by trying to clear the throat
hawk up phlegm
2
informal : to forcefully spit out (something, such as phlegm) : hock entry 5
hawk a loogie

intransitive verb

: to utter a harsh guttural sound in or as if in trying to clear the throat

hawk

4 of 5

noun (2)

: an audible effort to force up phlegm from the throat

hawk

5 of 5

verb (3)

hawked; hawking; hawks

transitive verb

: to offer (something) for sale by calling out in the street
hawking newspapers
broadly : sell

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English hauk, from Old English hafoc; akin to Old High German habuh hawk, Russian kobets a falcon

Verb (1)

Middle English hauken, derivative of hauk hawk entry 1

Verb (2)

imitative

Noun (2)

derivative of hawk entry 3

Verb (3)

back-formation from hawker entry 2

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Verb (2)

1581, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (2)

1604, in the meaning defined above

Verb (3)

1713, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hawk was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near hawk

Cite this Entry

“Hawk.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hawk. Accessed 26 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

hawk 1 of 4

noun

1
: any of numerous birds of prey that have a strong hooked bill and sharp curved claws and are smaller than most eagles
2
: a person who supports war or warlike policies
hawkish adjective

hawk

2 of 4

verb

: to hunt birds by means of a trained hawk

hawk

3 of 4

verb

: to offer for sale by calling out in the street
hawk vegetables

hawk

4 of 4

verb

1
: to make a harsh coughing sound in or as if in clearing the throat
2
: to raise by hawking
hawk up phlegm

Medical Definition

: to raise by trying to clear the throat
hawk up phlegm

intransitive verb

: to make a harsh coughing sound in clearing the throat

hawk

2 of 2

noun

: an audible effort to force up phlegm from the throat

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